OK I’m officially tired of defending the Broncos. I’m sure nearly every single one of you are too. But, something in me can’t stop. Soooo, as my last ditch effort I am going give Bronco fans one last piece of ammunition with which to argue.
Ever since the Marshall move occurred, I’ve felt that somehow the Broncos were a better team. It took me a while (OK way too long) but I feel like I’ve finally been able to nail down WHY we are a better team WITHOUT our stud wide receiver. After all, that is the question posed by “experts” isn’t it? It goes something like “So tell me how the Broncos are a better team when they LOST THEIR BEST OFFENSIVE WEAPON???” I don’t know how many times I’ve heard statements similar to that on the radio or TV this off-season when someone suggests that the Broncos will win more than 5 games. And to be honest it was hard for me to answer. Until now.
It’s what I’m calling the “football magnet theory.” There are a handful of wide receivers in the league that qualify as “football magnets.” For the sake of this post I am defining them as players that catch 95 balls or more AND have at least 40% more catches than ANY OTHER PLAYER on their team. MAGNETS! Players that QBs can’t help but look to early and often. I did my research and found the football magnets of last year and will include the next closest teammate below them.
Andre Johnson- 170 Targets, 107 Catches
Kevin Walter- 70 Targets, 53 Catches
Steve Smith (NYG)- 159 Targets, 107 Catches
Mario Manningham- 99 Targets, 57 Catches
Brandon Marshall- 154 Targets, 101 Catches
Jabar Gaffeny- 88 Targets, 54 Catches
One last one that doesn’t fit my definition but I think may actually be a Magnet.
Calvin Johnson- 137 Targets, 76 Catches
Bryant Johnson- 87 Targets, 35 Catches
I was actually a bit surprised to find that there were only three players that fit that definition. Reggie Wayne? Nope. Fitzgerald? Nope. Now what does it mean?
The obvious answer to that question is, if you have a Magnet on your team, you aren’t making it to the playoffs. In fact, I went back 10 years and there is only ONE team that won a Superbowl with a Magnet on the roster. 2001, the Patriots won with Troy Brown being a Magnet. That prompted me to look deeper. How many Playoff Teams had a Magnet on their roster? Since 2007, of the 36 teams to make the playoffs, ONE team had a Magnet. The 2007 Colts had Magnet Wayne. He was AWESOME!! Unfortunately, the Colts were unceremoniously dumped in their first playoff game by the media sweetheart Chargers. So now I’m wondering, are there really that many Magnets in the first place?? There were only 3 that fit my definition last year. In 2008 only Welker came close to being a Magnet and in 2007 there were 4. I guess quantity doesn’t matter. It’s simply a HUGE red flag. When you look through the list of players that are potential Magnets from year to year, you will run into the same group of players for the most part. The vast majority of them are off-set. Welker by Moss, Wayne by Clark, Fitzgerald by Bolden etc. The players that aren’t off-set are the ones that draw the concern AND label of Magnets. Brandon Marshall was identified in each of the last three years as a potential Magnet. In 2008, he was off-set by Eddie Royal. But he is by far the most glaring example of a Magnet.
So where’s the conclusion? This conversation has only one conclusion. Not having a Magnet on your roster doesn’t mean that you are bound for glory, but HAVING A MAGNET seems to indicate that it’s HIGHLY unlikely your team will have much success. Tom Brady and Peyton Manning are the only two QBs in the last ten years to have demonstrated the ability to have any playoff success while focused in on one particular receiver. Marshall being a Dolphin means we have a better chance of success. There, I said it. You can certainly make arguments that it’s not the receivers fault, blame lies with the QB or the Offensive Coordinator. Sure. But if that Magnet isn’t on the field, the QB/OC is forced to look in different directions. That’s my argument and I’m sticking with it.